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Understanding Addiction

What is addiction?

Drug addiction can be a difficult thing to understand for many people. How do people become addicted to drugs? Why do people become addicted to drugs? This lack of understanding of addiction can cause people to think that addiction is due to a lack of morals or willpower to stop using drugs. In reality, addiction is a complex disease, one that requires a great deal more than just good intentions or a strong will to stop. Addiction is a chronic and often relapsing disease that is characterized by seeking and using a drug which is compulsive or difficult to control. Drugs actually cause a change in the brain that makes it difficult to quit, even for those who really want to stop.

Why do some people become addicted?

There is no one factor that leads a person to become addicted to drugs. It is typically a combination of several different factors that will influence an individual’s risk for addiction.

  • Environment can play a very large role in a person’s quality of life. Ranging from family and friends to their economic status. Additional factors such as physical and sexual abuse, peer pressure, stress, early exposure to drugs, and guidance from parents can all have a great affect on a person’s chances of developing drug use and addiction.
  • Development factors can have an impact on an individual’s risk of developing addiction. While taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that someone begins to use drugs the higher the chances that it can progress to addiction. Teens are at a greater risk when it comes to addiction due to the fact that crucial decision-making and judgement portions of the brain are still developing, leading them to partake in particularly risky behavior.
  • It is also thought that the genes a person is born with have an impact on their chances of developing addiction. This includes gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental health disorders.

With addiction, over time the brain will begin to adjust to the excess of dopamine, reducing the high that the individual feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug. This effect on the brain is known as tolerance. Eventually this can lead to taking more of the drug with the goal of achieving the same high.

Can addiction be treated?

Addiction can in fact be successfully treated and managed. People recovering from addiction will be at a risk for relapse for years or even their entire lives. By combining behavioral therapy and addiction treatment medications most patients are ensured the best chances for success. It is important that treatment be individually tailored to their specific needs for any co-occurring disorders. If you or a loved one are suffering with addiction the specialists at Silicon Beach Outpatient Center can help. Call us today at 310.846.8215.

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